Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thursdays with Lydia - Week 7

April 2009

Here is a slideshow of all of the photos below, plus many more!

Aidan and Sleeping Lydia

Yesterday, I went over to Jessica's and spent some time with Aidan and her, as well as Jenny and Josephine, who is three weeks younger than Lydia. I didn't catch any photos of Josephine, who is teeny and adorable, but I did manage to snap two of the oh-so-mobile Aidan (he's learned to crawl and pull himself up to standing in the past week or so!) and Lydia, who slept for awhile when we arrived.

Happy Girl

Lydia was a happy girl while watching Brittany pack. I think she had realized that Brittany would be returning a few weeks later to help me take care of her and keep me company while Robin is in Las Vegas for a convention with his dad. (Of course, after we dropped Brittany off at the airport, Lydia realized that a few weeks equals half of her lifetime, which is a long time for her, and got very upset and screamed the entire way home. Conveniently, traffic was very heavy, adding 10-15 minutes to the drive, giving her that much more time to meltdown in the backseat.)

Farmer's Market Saturday!!

Robin, Mike, Brittany, and I enjoyed a Saturday at the Farmer's Market downtown. After perusing the stands, where Brittany picked up produce for our amazing dinner later that day, we spent some time lounging the grass.Mike, always very cool, looked on while this "art piece" wandered about the park. A man was inside and kids entertained themselves pushing the huge inflatable object around the park.Lydia pooped in her diaper, requiring an outdoor change and then an outdoor feeding, giving Mike and Robin the perfect opportunity to ditch Brittany and I in the park to follow a different wandering art performance through downtown.
Brittany found Lydia's sweet spot and carried her this way while we went to locate them.

A Very Important First

I haven't had a margarita since June. That's right, kids. June. Living in Austin, Texas, this is a very long time to go without a margarita. I saved the occasion to share with Brittany; I couldn't think of anybody else who would appreciate the milestone more than she would.

Thursdays with Lydia - Week 6

Hanging Out...

Just for Grandpa Dale...

Thanks to Kris for this great onesie!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Baby Legs!!!

A gift from her Godmama Brittany, these are my new favorite thing!!

Lydia and Stanley Lounging

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Workout #1: Check

After getting clearance from my doctor today, I began my "Couch to 5k" workout program this evening when Robin got home. Lydia is still too young to run with in the jogging stroller, so Robin took care of her while I went out for 30 minutes with Stanley in tow.

I consider myself to be a fairly active person, so it embarrasses me to admit to what I now consider a "workout." In Couch to 5k, the whole idea is that your workout should never hurt. They say that as soon as you come to expect pain or discomfort with your workout, it becomes significantly more difficult to become motivated and stay true to a program--things like muscle soreness and general dread become problems. Keeping this in mind, I felt like I needed to be gentle on both my body and ego.

I started the first week last week, because I was okay to walk and the first week did not include running. This evening, I completed week 2 workout 1, which is walking for 27 minutes and walking for 3.  Yes, 3. And today, this was a push for me. I think my joints are still recovering from carrying all of the extra weight during pregnancy (I never had joint pain while I was pregnant, but they would feel fatigued much faster than usual), and my core muscles are all out of whack. I tried to really move during the walking periods, so that I did manage to work up a bit of a sweat. I will take tomorrow off and do the second workout on Thursday. While it is hard on the ego to basically start over with cardio workouts, I am very hopeful about this workout program and look forward to modeling exercise as part of a normal daily routine for Lydia.


We enjoyed a fantastic visit from Mike and Brittany, our very good friends who live in Chicago. Brittany was here from last Wednesday until yesterday, and Mike arrived Thursday evening and left on Sunday. It was so great to introduce them to Lydia and have four helping hands around. They really spoiled us--taking us out for dinner, making meals, sharing an AMAZING bottle of wine they had been saving for a couple of years for a special occasion, cleaning the house, taking Stanley on walks, and treating me to a pedicure. Robin and I both enjoyed their company so much and were sad to see them go. Pictures will be up soon!

All clear!

I had my follow-up appointment with Dr. Nancy Binford, my obstetrician today. She was pleased with my recovery, and most importantly, okayed me to start working out! I haven't worked out in about 8 weeks, which is probably the longest I have gone since junior high school. I'll be celebrating with a walk/run and a yoga class tomorrow. :)

Lydia's Baptism

Lydia will be baptized on June 21st (Father's Day) in Forest Lake at Faith Lutheran Church at the 10:30 worship service. We are very glad that this worked out, because we will be in Minnesota for my college roommate Anna's wedding celebration. Most of our family lives in the Midwest, so a Minnesota baptism seemed like a good bet. She will be baptized in the church where we were married and by the same minister, which I think is really cool--I have known the pastor since I was in Kindergarten. She will also be wearing a gown handmade by her Great-Grandmother Laqua and Great Aunts Karen and Phyllis. (Did I forget anybody?) Lots and lots of hours have been put into the gown, and I can't wait to see it!! We asked our very close friends Mike and Brittany to be Lydia's godparents. They are very important people in our lives, and we know they'll be important to Lydia, too!

Of course, all friends and family are welcome to come!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


We had a VERY significant milestone last night-- a four-letter milestone. Lydia achieved what the blogs refer to as STTN, SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT!!! Now, in baby-speak, 6 uninterrupted hours is considered to be sleeping through the night, and only in a very twisted world would going to bed at 10 and waking up at 4:15 be considered a full night of sleep. This mama, however, is not complaining!! 5 weeks and 6 days, and I got six straight hours of sleep!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Food Source

As I am getting used to this whole motherhood thing, there are a handful of things that I wasn't prepared for. Or maybe a million things. I have told several people that I had worked to be ready to never fit into my favorite pair of jeans again (I wore them for the first time two weeks ago), but I wasn't ready for all but two of my shirts to be too small in the "bust area." (I also wasn't ready for the frustration of trying to get ready for an event such as Palm Sunday church and knowing that I have boxes of clothing that are appropriate for the occasion, they just are all either ill-fitting or not nursing-friendly. You can't breast-feed while wearing a dress.) I have been pleasantly surprised by Robin's and my ability to get out of the house and do little things that bring both of us joy, but I was not ready for the frequency that I would need to pause and oh-so-subtly shove Lydia under my shirt or a blanket for her to eat. On a more emotional note, I never expected that the first thing that would bring out an undeniable excitement and expression of happiness in Lydia would be nursing. Not just eating, but specifically nursing. 

I think that most nursing women have a love-hate relationship with breast-feeding. I often find myself sitting there thinking, "Here I am again." I have come up with all sorts of techniques to make that time feel a little less limiting. I have books stashed all over the house. Animal Vegetable Miracle is in the living room. Twilight is in the nursery. The Milk Memos is in our bedroom. I have solitaire on my phone. I take advantage of the side-lying nursing position and watch Oprah. Here comes the surprise: as Lydia has grown, she has started showing such distinct signs of contentment while nursing, sometimes I forget to pick up my book, my solitaire game, or even turn on Oprah. She is just so happy! She makes little noises, plays with her hands, and kicks her feet. It is so cute and even more rewarding. I just don't want to miss it! 

I am very fortunate that breastfeeding has worked out for me. I haven't had the hurdles to jump that so many women do. Moreso, I am lucky to have a handful of women around me that have been excellent models of combining motherhood with lives that keep moving ahead, specifically when it comes to nursing. I know of two women, one is an administrator at my school and the other works full-time at Dell, who successfully nursed for a year. That's right, a year! And our friend Jessica is creeping up on that mark while working on her doctorate. These women deserve a shout-out, because seriously, that's dedication. It's so fantastic to know that it's possible to continue having those great moments with Lydia that only I can have, even when I go back to work. 

Gender Bending?

Apparently, Lydia looks like a boy. We do not always dress her in pink, though most of her clothes are pretty girly. Despite the flowers, ruffles, or what have you, people repeatedly ask, "How old is he?" One woman at Old Navy told me, "What a beautiful baby boy," to which I replied, "Actually, she's a girl, but yes, we think she's very pretty." The woman said, "Well, she's a pretty girl, too."

I really don't care that people think she looks like a boy. I am more irritated that the default for a baby not dressed in pink is masculine. Just say, "What a beautiful baby!"

Saturday, April 18, 2009


From Lydia - Month One

This is my favorite photo of Lydia and me.

Great Day!

Robin and I had a fantastic Saturday. We went to the downtown Austin's Farmer's Market, which was great. We picked up beets, radishes, bread, kohlrabi, and a yummy vegan brownie. We then went to join Brian, Elizabeth, and Oliver at Thunderbird on their first outing with the little guy. (They were champs! A total victory!) THEN my friend Melissa came over to take some pictures of Robin, Lydia, and me, since there are so few of the three of us. Finally, we went over to Jessica and Aaron's house for dinner. All in all, it was such a good day!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Womb Service

Our doula, Kristen Downer is teaching childbirth classes at Austin Baby! Kristen is fantastic, and I can't even imagine my pregnancy and labor without her. I would strongly recommend her childbirth class to ANYONE! Information on the classes can be found at and Kristen's own site for her doula services is

If you know anyone who is pregnant, pass on the info!

Misconceptions about Doulas

I have been thinking a lot about this during the past few months, especially as I have reflected on Lydia's birth and the important role Kristen, our doula, played. 

When Robin and I decided our hope was for a drug-free childbirth, we immediately decided to have a doula present during our delivery. I knew from friends' and family's stories that this would be key in achieving of my goal in as positive a way as possible. I will also say up-front that I respect the personal nature of ALL decisions surrounding childbirth--who gets to be with the mother and partner, where a person chooses to deliver, whether or not they use medication to manage pain. These are all incredibly personal decisions and really, nobody should get to tell anyone else what they should or shouldn't do.

As we've told people about our decision to have a doula at Lydia's birth, both before and after her delivery, we got a range of reactions. Some people thought I was crazy, others thought it was great, and then there was this response: "My husband is my birth coach."

This is where I really want to clarify something. Robin was my primary birth support, and I steered my delivery, not a "coach." That was always our plan. Kristen, our doula's website reads, "I will use my training and expertise to HELP YOUR PARTNER SUPPORT YOU." Kristen was a support to both of us, and in the moments when neither Robin nor I would have known what to do, she was there for both of us. We were very well prepared, but still there are things that you just don't know to expect. At the end of the day, Robin was an excellent coach, and he was made better with the support of Kristen. I handled labor pretty well, if I do say so myself, and I was made stronger (and more calm) with the support of Kristen. Doula's don't replace the mother's partner during labor, unless that is what the mother is looking for. 

Again, the choice to have someone at the birth of your child is huge. And again, I respect the personal nature of all the choices surrounding childbirth; I know I appreciated the respect we received about our decisions. I just wanted to clarify what I have found to be a huge misconception.

Thursdays with Lydia - Week Five

Thanks to Anna for the adorable outfit!

The Work of Baby Einstein...

I remembered today that I had downloaded a Baby Einstein CD off of iTunes while I was pregnant. I am not loving the chimey renditions of classic tunes, but it seemed to have miraculous calming abilities, both to my right...

and to my left.


Robin and I are pretty sure that Lydia is figuring out how to smile. Maybe we are jumping the gun, but it seems that more and more often, she smiles back at us when we are smiling at her. I was able to catch this photo yesterday!


I think Lydia has established somewhat of a nighttime sleep routine. Her days are still totally unpredictable, and she rarely is able to nap for an extended period, especially if she is not attached to me, but she is an awesome night sleeper!

For the past two weeks, the most Robin and I have had to wake up with her is twice, so for the past two weeks, we have gotten at least one four-hour stretch of sleep a night. She has gotten heartbreakingly close to that magical six-hour mark that doctors count as sleeping through the night. (Only in infant world would six hours of sleep count as a full night!) Last night and the night before, she only woke up once! Let's just hope that writing about it doesn't jinx her like it did last time!

Latest Obsession

Thanks to DVR and Lydia's desire to cuddle, I have been watching lots of Oprah these days. Earlier this week, she had an episode entitled "Unforgettable, Unconventional Dads." Being a new parent, this episode was very close to home. All of the stories were very touching and impressive, but I was especially moved by the story of Matt Logelin, a single father who's wife died 27 hours after giving birth to their first daughter of extremely rare complications from her pregnancy. 

Logelin started a blog shortly before their daughter, Madeline was born to keep family and friends in their home state of Minnesota updated regarding their pregnancy, since the family lives in California now. He has continued to write, so his family's story is documented from his wife's pregnancy through his daughter's birth, his wife's death, and his simultaneous days of grieving and new parenthood that followed. His blog has drawn thousands of followers starting in March 2008, and I am now one of them. 

I am seriously obsessed with this blog. I sit and read it and cry. There is something about parenting an infant that drives home how irreplaceable we are, especially to our families, and this blog captures that heartbreakingly well.  I wouldn't suggest that any pregnant women visit the blog, especially if you are like me and read about extremely rare situations and convince yourself that you will fall to a similar fate. However, if you are a sucker for stories that are both sad and heartwarming or need an outlet for emotions and are looking for something that will make you cry, check out Matt, Liz, and Madeline at

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wednesday Morning Stroll

Lydia has been up to Lanier twice now, and both times she was perfectly behaved. No crying, no dirty diapers. She slept almost the entire time, both times. She was so perfectly behaved, in fact, that I was accused of drugging the baby.

Here, friends, is proof that I do not drug the baby, for if I did, she would not have looked like this on our walk back from Thunderbird Coffee this morning after lovely conversation with Jessica and Aidan.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Lydia Goes to Lanier

I forgot the camera for this occasion, but yesterday I went up to visit my coworkers at Lanier and introduce them to Lydia. I also was able to check in with my sub and was really impressed with how well she is doing! (We all remember the way we treated substitute teachers. Only now do I realize how difficult the job is!) I am fortunate to have a substitute that is very invested in the kids; she has worked hard to make the lesson plans I left her own, and I was really impressed with the work the kids had done under her direction!

This morning I returned to Lanier to visit one of my English classes and my advisory with Lydia in tow. The kids seemed very excited to see the baby, which was a lot of fun. One student who won my heart quickly this year earned extra bonus points when she said, "Miss! Look at your stomach!" (The kids never saw me not pregnant, though I didn't let them in on the fact that I was pregnant until a few weeks into the school year, despite pounding Maalox and Preggie Pop Drops in an effort to ease my morning sickness during class.) I'm going to try to make it in to visit all of my classes; I promised the kids I would before I left on maternity leave. It's also somewhat of a self-esteem boost. Students always love you infinitely more when you are no longer their teacher.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Welcome Oliver Mott Contine!!

Our good friends Brian and Elizabeth welcomed their son, Oliver Mott Contine yesterday evening! 8 lbs., 3 ozs. and 21 inches at 7:49 PM. Congratulations to the Contine family! We can't wait to meet the new addition!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Lydia's Easter Dress

We celebrated Easter today by attending a service at Tarrytown United Methodist Church. Sadly, we were the very first people to get there after they had cut off seating in the sanctuary, so we had to sit in overflow seating--with several other families with young children. I wore Lydia in the Maya wrap, this time tummy-to-tummy instead of cradled, and she seemed to like this a lot better. She only fussed a little during the service and was easily calmed by me standing up and walking around. I am loving the Maya wrap!

Here are some pictures of Lydia today, on her one month birthday, wearing her Easter dress and bonnet, given to her by her Laqua great-grandparents! Also, we managed to snap a photo of the Easter Bunny. He brought Lydia Infant Tylenol, Gripe Water, Soothie pacifiers, and a pediatric thermometer.

One Month--and a first to commemorate it!

Lydia is one month old, and I think we all have fared pretty well! Last night, I had my first pang of sadness, realizing how fast time is passing and how fast she is growing and changing. It is a strange feeling--looking forward to the days when Lydia will smile and laugh and start responding to us more overtly, but at the same time feeling sad that she is no longer the teeny (at least to us) newborn that she was on March 12th.

On that note, Robin and I are pretty sure that we witnessed her first smile this morning! I came downstairs after showering and went to Lydia and smiled at her, and we both saw a smile in return! Of course, I was so excited about the smile that I screamed and scared her, and the smile quickly turned into a startled look of fear. We are looking forward to more!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Lydia and Stanley - Dueling Tummy Time

Ending the Freeze-Out!!!

I have an intense paranoia about SIDS, as do lots of new moms. I have had to consciously stop obsessing over the baby monitor and Lydia's breathing sounds coming through it. I even read a comment on a website by a mom who was so intent on watching her sleeping babies every move for signs of SIDS that she would actually stay up and watch the baby sleep; she eventually collapsed from exhaustion.

Due to this fear, it is probably not a surprise that I have read and read and read about every possible thing that can be done to prevent SIDS. The fan in the nursery is on at all times. Lydia ALWAYS is put to sleep on her back. There is nothing in the crib when she is in it.

I also read that the nursery should be kept cool--at 65-68 degrees to be exact. So what do I do? I go to Robin and inform him that we must keep the house cooler, specifically the nursery. Dutifully, he did this. The nursery was so chilly that I actually needed a blanket for when I nursed Lydia at night. (She has been sleeping really well and did not seem uncomfortable at all, so no worries there!) The cold brought back memories of the duplex I lived in during college, shared with three other girls. The house was so poorly insulated that our heat bills were ridiculously high; our solution was keeping the heat at 62, necessitating a fleece-lined wool hat to be worn when I slept. Ah, nostalgia...

I generally do not question experts, but the 65-68 degree thing seemed a little extreme, so I asked our doctor about appropriate temperatures for a nursery. She said no warmer than 75. (This will probably translate to around 72; 75 is a little too warm for this nordic girl.) I then told her what I had read and the temperature we had been keeping the nursery at, and I think this might be the only time I felt like she was going to laugh at me. So thanks to Dr. Bell, the freeze-out has officially ended!

Wellness Check - One Month and Props to Dr. Bell and the Baby Whisperers

Lydia is officially a huge girl. She weighs 10 lbs., 15.5 ozs. and is 22 1/2 inches long. Her weight, height, and head circumference are all in the 90-95th percentiles. Her weight has increased nearly 3 lbs. from her 5-day check when she was so low; that's a 37% increase in just over three weeks! She also passed her newborn screen, which tests for about 20 rare disorders found in infants. Finally, she was given her second Hepatitis B vaccine (the first was given in the hospital when she was one day old.) 

We really love our pediatrician, Dr. Anna Bell. She is very patient and answers all of our questions thoroughly. She also is very good at making us feel like capable caretakers of an infant. She is so good with Lydia; she is able to go about her exams while keeping Lydia totally calm  and fuss-free. Finally, today sealed the deal with how much I love her nurses; the nurse was able to give Lydia her shot so well that Lydia only cried for about three seconds. That's right--three. At Lydia's last check, she was able to draw blood from her heel without making Lydia cry at all. That is pretty amazing!

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Lydia has been out and about quite a bit in her four weeks living in the outside world! She has successfully been to:

-Thunderbird Coffee (several times)
-The Austin's Farmer's Market
-Old Navy
-Central Market (once with a small meltdown)
-Kerbey Lane Cafe
-Tarrytown Methodist Church for Palm Sunday
-The Domain, including the Apple Store
-The Tanger Outlet Mall
-El Chile
-Genuine Joe's Coffeehouse (and was a perfect angel while Mom realized she had nothing to pay for her latte which was already made. I had a pacifier, blanket, diapers, and wipes, but no cash. Thank goodness they know me well and took a tab.)

And after yesterday, add Elizabeth, Brian, and Oliver the Inside Baby's house. (We are still waiting for Oliver to decide to become an outside baby and make his grand appearance. He has decided to be fashionably late.) I went over to visit Elizabeth, who has started maternity leave. We had a lovely afternoon and even took a walk using Oliver's stroller and carrier. I also enjoyed checking out their nursery, which is absolutely adorable! Lydia also entertained Elizabeth with her latest trick. This involves grunting, wriggling, and generally screaming while trying to poop. Oh, Lydia. Thank goodness for friends that are cool with screaming, pooping babies!

Finally, here is Lydia chilling on the patio this morning. It's a beautiful day in Austin!